Newborn Care

In the hospital, a pediatrician from our group will evaluate your baby each morning.  We will stop by your room daily to update you and address your concerns.  The following topics may be of interest to you.


Many types of birthmarks are seen in infants at birth or during the early months of life.  The cause is usually unknown.  Most birthmarks fall into the following classes:

  1. A flat, red type which occurs at the nape of the neck, (up in the hair line), and across the nasal bridge and eyelids.  They gradually fade away, usually by the time the child is six months of age.
  2. So called “strawberry birthmarks” are raised and soft.  These blood vessel filled lesions grow, sometimes rapidly, for about a year then fade gradually, disappearing by about six years of age.
  3. Darker pigmented individuals often have bruise-like birthmarks over the lower back and buttocks.  These fade over the first years of life.

The great majority of these birthmarks will fade spontaneously and do not require surgical or laser treatment.  Do not hesitate to bring birthmarks to our attention so that we can evaluate and discuss.

Bowel Movements

The stools of a newborn are normally yellow or even green.  Breast fed infants’ stools are often loose.  Formula babies’ stools are pastier or formed, and may depend on the type of formula.  It is not unusual for a baby to push, strain, draw his legs up, cry and become red in the face when he has a bowel movement.  Bowel movements may occur as frequently as once each feeding or as infrequently as every third day.  Breast milk promotes more frequent stools and formula less frequent.  Loose stools that appear bloody or mucousy should arouse concern, as should large, hard or painful stools that occur less than every other day.  If infrequent stools cause the baby discomfort, you may use an infant glycerin suppository or liquid glycerin baby lax every other day.  Hard stools may be alleviated by giving one-half ounce of prune juice and one-half ounce water daily.  If you have concerns about your baby’s bowel habits, please give us a call during office hours when we have access to your records.

Breast Enlargement

Frequently, a newborn’s breasts enlarge after birth and occasionally produce a little milk.  This is caused by the mother’s hormones and will subside without special treatment.

Breathing Sounds

Babies normally breathe through their noses for the first few months.  The breathing is often quite loud and may sound like a cold.  This is caused by turbulent airflow through the small nasal passage and is normal. If your baby has fever, fussiness or nasal discharge, please call our office.


Vaseline should be placed over the healing surface with each diaper change for the first week home from the hospital.  Avoid immersing the penis in bath water until the circumcision heals.  If a plastic ring (Plastibell) has been used, it will stay attached for five to eight days following circumcision. No special dressing is required and the baby can be bathed as soon as the ring and the umbilical cord fall off.

With either type of circumcision, notify us if you observe any unusual redness or swelling, or if the plastic ring is not off within ten to twelve days.   After the healing is completed, you may prevent the formation of attachments between the shaft and the head of the penis by gently pulling the foreskin back from the ridge once daily.


The umbilical cord has been securely clamped and treated with an antiseptic to prevent infection.  We will inspect it daily and the clamp will be removed prior to going home.  Once daily treatment with rubbing alcohol will help to dry out the cord and suppress bacterial growth.  Avoid immersing the cord in bath water.


Most babies’ eyes are puffy and swollen during the first few days of life.  Your baby may not open its eyes well at first.  The puffiness should disappear within several days.  Eyes will appear yellow if jaundice develops.


We encourage fathers to take an active part in the care of their new baby.  The more you participate, the more important role you will enjoy in the life of your child.

Female Genital Area

Gently separate the vaginal labial folds when washing a baby girl.  A little secretion and even bleeding may be noted in the first weeks.  This is a quickly passing effect of mother’s hormones and is no cause for concern.


Hiccups are common during the first few months.  They are not caused by improper feeding and they do not cause the baby any discomfort.


Approximately one third of newborns develop noticeable yellowness, or jaundice, of their eyes and skin in the first days of life.  Jaundice is caused by excess bilirubin, a yellow pigment normally produced by the body as it recycles old red blood cells.  Jaundice is harmless for most infants, but will occasionally cause problems when severe.  Dangerous levels of bilirubin may be associated with poor feeding, dehydration, mother/baby blood group incompatibility and infection.  Eating, stooling and sunlight will all help to diminish jaundice.  Our providers carefully monitor jaundice and bilirubin levels by examination, photometric skin measurements and blood testing.  In severe cases, we may employ intravenous fluids and artificial lights (phototherapy) to keep bilirubin at safe levels.

Molding of the Head

The process of birth often causes the baby’s head to be misshapen.  This will correct itself without treatment within a few days.


The baby’s skin may be red, peeling and rashy. This is normal.  It is safe and soothing to apply a mild lotion or cream but this provides little benefit.  Hands and feet are often blue during the first few days of life.


Newborns normally sneeze. If there is no nasal drainage or difficulty breathing, do not be concerned.


Most babies lose 5 to 10% of their birth weight during the first days of life.  At birth, a baby’s body contains an excess of water which is lost as urine.  Should weight loss be excessive, we will adjust the feeding plan accordingly.